Group of eight students begin bi-weekly engagement opportunities with renown facilitators and artists
Mona M. Rock
(NORTH BETHESDA, MD)— Eight Strathmore and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company 2022 Arts and Social Justice Fellows began biweekly meeting groups inspired by Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon. As part of the program, participants will develop leadership skills, connect with networks of other students and professionals with similar interests, and grow their capacity to drive projects from start to finish.
The experience seeks to engage and empower young leaders and provide an opportunity for them to connect with other students and professionals to create a shared vision for the future and take steps toward that reality. After an in-person launch event at Strathmore followed by biweekly Zoom meetings, students will gather to watch the performance in April, and begin developing a culminating project.
Fellows will receive support to further develop their analysis around social justice and systems change and build a unique vision for how they want to harness their artistry to intervene in the crises facing our world. Each student is expected to develop individual or group projects that reflect their interests and what they have learned, to be showcased at the end of the program in July. Each fellow will receive a $750 stipend, which they may use as they choose including paying themselves or collaborators for their work on their project, purchasing supplies, or donating to a relevant organization.
This program is made possible with generous support from the Dr. Allen A.B. Herman Fund.
AMBAR CONDORI-BOUGHTON (she/her) is an 11th grader at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC. She was the runner-up of the 2022 Jazz Appreciation Month poster contest in association with the Smithsonian and works in many mediums–including painting, drawing, photography, and mixed media themes. Her artwork revolves around her background, personal experiences, and social and environmental justice issues about which she is passionate. Recently, Ambar was selected by global healthcare company Organon in partnership with Duke Ellington School of the Arts to create an artwork for the upcoming “The Art of Women’s Health” exhibition at the Renwick Gallery.
RAHIMAH HAGMAGID (she/her) is a 10th grader at George Washington University Online High School and has always had a passion for all things art. She enjoys painting, drawing, sculpting, writing, and anything else that allows her to use her imagination. She lives in Sterling, Virginia with her large family and can always be found preparing for her next project.
SOPHIA HALL (she/her) is an 11th grader at Holton Arms School and has been recognized by the Scholastic Writing Awards, the Library of Congress, Write the World, Worldwide Plays Festival, Writopia Lab, Bethesda Writer's Center, and Ringling College. Sophia views poetry as a tool for social justice and creating societal change. An ambassador of the Harvard Undergraduate International Relations Scholars Program, she cares about foreign policy and public health. She is the news editor of her school newspaper and produces the weekly satirical school news show Screen; has performed violin at Strathmore as part of the Levine School of Music Chamber Orchestra.
ROSE KEPKA (she/they/he) is a 10th grader at Montgomery Blair High School in the Communication Arts Program. She is an artist specializing in sculpting, collage, and costume design, and is passionate about filmmaking, creative writing, and performing. A member of the school's documentary program Silver Lens and the school's theatre program, Rose is also a Girl Scouts Cadette of Troop 804 where she volunteers for her community and teaches leadership to young scouts.
DANIELA (DANI) KLEIN (she/her) is a 10th grader at Walt Whitman High School. She has a passion for social justice and activism along with an avid interest in art. In addition to spending time with friends, traveling, playing sports, listening to music, and eating good food, she enjoys studying politics, philosophy, history, and current events, and is often found engaged in lively debates with family or friends. She looks forward to learning how to make a difference in the world by expressing her creativity.
EMILY LIU (she/her) is an active and motivated 11th grader at Wootton High School, with a passion for advocacy and music. She has been playing the violin for nine years and has been the concertmaster of Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra’s Preparatory Strings, Chamber Strings, and Young Artists. Currently, Emily is the Assistant Principal of Second Violins in MCYO’s Chamber Ensemble. She became involved with politics and student advocacy last year and has become a co-coordinator for the Montgomery County Green New Deal Internship. She is a part of the executive board for the Montgomery County Regional Student Government Association (MCR- SGA) and serves on the Maryland Association of Student Council’s (MASC) Civic Engagement Committee.
ALLISON SWEENEY (she/her) is a 10th grader at Poolesville High School. An avid musical theatre and Shakespeare enthusiast, she enjoys creating works centered around current issues and youth engagement. Since 2020, Allison been a stage manager and performer with the Free Theatre, a student-led company, learning all facets of theatre-making under the mentorship of industry professionals. As the National Advocacy Director of Innovate X, she's expanded Project Finance, an initiative to equip all students with personal finance education that has several novel branches nationwide. On Generation Ratify, she is a lead organizer in the DMV area to coordinate canvassing events to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.
CORVID THOMAS (it/its/itself) is a 9th grade Black and nonbinary artist who advocates mainly for Black and queer communities, specifically Black nonbinary people. Corvid enjoys an array of activities such as singing, songwriting, creative writing, drawing, theatre, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and creating wearable artwork, among many others. The young artist’s drive for activism is channeled through art which displays the struggles of facing racism and transphobia, as well as the joy of being Black and queer.
Meet the Cohort Facilitators
Amoja Sumler facilitates biweekly sessions, supports students in building relationships with their cohort, and helps participants develop their final projects. He is a nationally celebrated poet, essayist, and one of the preeminent emerging voices of intersectional social advocacy. From his essays discussing the role of law enforcement to the value of capitalism, he is best known for fusing the art of the intellectual into the familiar.
He has headlined poetry festivals such as the Austin International Poetry Festival, the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival, Write NOLA in New Orleans, and Rock the Republic in Texas. Amoja lectures at schools and literacy nonprofits, while teaching creative pedagogy and keynoting at social advocacy conferences like Long Beach Indie Film Pedagogy Conference and Furious Flower, throughout the nation.
Born in South Korea, Kita Marshall is a biracial, queer, Jewish poet who considers herself to be from a little bit of everywhere due to the experience of traveling extensively during her childhood.
As a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ people, racial justice, intersectionality, diversity, and accessibility, Kita engages with local activists and community groups around a number of social justice issues.
She is a Cave Canem graduate fellow and a graduate fellow of The Watering Hole, whose work has appeared in two anthologies: Multiverse and After Ferguson: In Solidarity.
AMIN DREW LAW
Amin Drew Law is a Palestinian-American poet, writing facilitator, teaching artist, vocalist, and organizer with a decade-long career in DC’s art’s education scene. As a teaching artist, Amin has created curriculum for Split This Rock, the American Poetry Museum, Poetry Out Loud, DC Scores, DCPS, MCPS, PGPS, APSVA, and in schools and universities around the country.
A two-time DC Grand Slam poetry champion, Southern Fried slam poetry champion and 4x member of Busboys & Poets prestigious Beltway Slam team, Amin’s spoken word poetry has been seen on TV One's Verses and Flow, Button Poetry, Slam Find, and All Def Poetry. Each of Amin's poems touch on social justice, and his poem “Unsaid,” a piece that tackles addiction and the prison industrial complex, went viral in 2018 and now has over 125,000 views.
ABOUT PARABLE OF THE SOWER
Parable of the Sower is a triumphant, mesmerizing work of rare power and beauty that illuminates deep insights on gender, race, and the future of human civilization.
This fully-staged opera brings together over 30 original anthems drawn from 200 years of Black music to recreate Butler’s sci-fi, Afrofuturist masterpiece live on stage.
With music and lyrics by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon, this compelling work gives life to Butler’s acclaimed science fiction novel of the same name.
Parable of the Sower is part of Strathmore’s Windows series.
Click here for a complete list of Parable of the Sower engagement opportunities.
ABOUT WOOLLY MAMMOTH THEATRE COMPANY
Woolly Mammoth creates badass theatre that highlights the stunning, challenging, and tremendous complexity of our world. For over 40 years, Woolly has maintained a high standard of artistic rigor while simultaneously daring to take risks, innovate, and push
beyond perceived boundaries. One of the few remaining theatres in the country to maintain a company of artists, Woolly serves as an essential research and development role within the American theatre. Plays premiered here have gone on to productions at
hundreds of theatres all over the world and have had lasting impacts on the field. Co-led by Artistic Director Maria Manuela Goyanes and Managing Director Emika Abe, Woolly is located in Washington, DC, equidistant from the Capitol Building and the White House. This unique location influences Woolly’s investment in actively working towards an equitable, participatory, and creative democracy. www.woollymammoth.net
Woolly Mammoth stands upon occupied, unceded territory: the ancestral homeland of the Nacotchtank whose descendants belong to the Piscataway peoples. Furthermore, the foundation of this city, and most of the original buildings in Washington, DC, were funded by the sale of enslaved people of African descent and built by their hands.
Strathmore presents and produces exemplary visual and performing arts programs for diverse audiences; creates dynamic arts education experiences; and nurtures creative ideas and conversations that advance the future of the arts.
All of Strathmore’s facilities are Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accredited.
Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, and facemasks are required to attend any performance or event inside any of its buildings.
For further information or tickets, call (301) 581-5100 or visit www.strathmore.org.